Sailing Olympics – Preview Day 13

Fifteen knots of breeze and building, today looks like going ahead on time. For UK supporters this is a huge day for British Star sailors Percy and Simpson who made it crystal clear yesterday that they want a medal. The trouble is, so do three other teams and with the points as they are, all three are in the hunt.

Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom, Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada and France’s Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau, all in with a chance of gold.

Six of the teams in the medal race have won the Star World Championship: Sweden, Great Britain, Brazil, France, Poland and New Zealand. Eight teams have a chance of taking medals because only 18 points separate those between third and eighth place.

Fredrik Loof of Sweden, the 2001 and 2004 world champion and his compatriot Anders Ekstrom, the 2004 world champion, have a 3.3 point average in the opening series.

The British, Brazilians and French are within striking distance of gold, while Marazzi and De maria Switzerland are in the mix for silver.

The Polish, Portuguese and German teams have a shot at the bronze medal.

Expect fireworks.

In the Tornado, the medal rush comes down to a similarly tight scrap between Spain, Australia, Argentina and Germany for gold.

In total, eight Tornado teams have a shot at a medal.

Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz from Spain, the 2005 and 2007 world champions, sit three points ahead of Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby of Australia, the 2008 world champions.

Santiago Lange and Carlos Espinola from Argentina won four of the 10 opening series races. If they manage to put four boats between them and the Spaniards and one boat between them and the Australians, they can win gold.

Johannes Polgar and Florian Spalteholz of Germany could also challenge for the gold medal.

Seven teams have a shot at silver and eight teams have a fighting chance for bronze.

Here’s this morning’s weather forecast from GBR meteorologist Libby Greenhalgh:

For the final day’s racing of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Qingdao is providing conditions that will make it a race to remember.

A well established low pressure system is tracking in from the W – the centre remaining to the S of the area- and is providing a moderate increasing to strong SE airflow. The resultant surface wind conditions for the final medal races are expected to be SE 12-15 KT.

Racing will take place on the max ebb (east going) tide with up to 1.5—1.7 knots and the turn expect around 1600.

Temperatures will be around 27-29 Celsius but with cloudy conditions and a risk of slight rain.

Schedule of racing – Thursday 21 August (times are local)

Course A 1300 hrs – Tornado medal race goes first

Course A 1300 hrs – Star medal race after Tornado finished